Leadership Series Episode 5 – How to create Innovation

15 Aug 2013 | by Les Roches


Guest Speaker : Michel Gehrig, Vice President Talent Development Kempinski Hotels

Innovation is a key element of the hospitality industry where guests are seeking new, amazing experiences, not just a place to eat or to sleep for a night. But is innovation something that can be taught, managed or created?

In this 5th edition of the Leadership Series, Les Roches welcomed Mr. Michel Gehrig, Vice President Talent Development Kempinski Hotels to talk about what it means to be innovative and how he sees the concept of innovation as an executive level human resources professional.

According to Mr. Gehrig, Kempinski invests significant time and resources to create innovation, but innovation is not something that can be taught it is not a policy or a free hand-out at check-in, it comes from an attitude.

“Innovation has a lot to do with attitude…with Kempinksi, we create the opportunities for you to be innovative. Innovation has a lot to do with the fact that you are able to question your own performance every single day, to look at your hotel and look at your business and say, “How can I do this different? How can I do this better? ” The customer of today is looking for experiences, and experiences have a lot to do with innovation, with creating moments. You can only do all those things if you have a certain attitude…to be positive, open-minded, enjoy feedback. It comes back to attitude, what we look for in interviews.”

Innovation is also a main priority for Les Roches. On campus, the faculty and facilities are constantly evolving to give students an education that goes beyond the traditional hotel school and university model. The Les Roches experience, in both academics and student life, is focused on developing the student’s capacity to analyse and improve operations and outcomes at every level of a hospitality business. Students become experts in the details of hospitality operations, so that as managers they can take that necessary step back to see the bigger picture and make room for innovation.

Les Roches


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